In this world of misunderstandings, misconceptions, and misuse of words, nothing can compare to total and complete clarity in marketing content.
Remember that time when so many people misused the word “literally” that Merriam-Webster added an addendum to its dictionary describing the commonly used opposite meaning? I do.
Clarity literally trumps all.
Some time ago, when I was trying to earn a name for myself in the writing world by interning at a small weekly newspaper, my critical, oftentimes harsh editor (who I can’t thank enough these days for her lessons) told me something I think of nearly every time I sit down to write. And, perhaps more importantly, when I sit down to edit.
It was after I turned in a draft of my latest article, and I was extremely proud of what I had turned in. But, as had happened many times before, it came back to me covered in bright red corrections.
She and I talked over the edits while I desperately tried to defend my work and explain what I had meant. After only a moment she interrupted me to say, “If I didn’t get it, what you meant doesn’t matter.”
To be fair, I ad-libbed some of that quote as I don’t remember her exact words, but I learned a valuable lesson that day, one that I assume all writers learn at some point in their careers. A writer’s head may be swimming with brilliant prose, but if they can’t translate that onto paper in a way that a reader will be able to pick up and understand, then those thoughts are worth nothing.
No surprise that that same lesson is very prevalent, maybe even more so, in the world of inbound marketing.
In the realm of integrated marketing this can be as simple as an unclear blog title or botched wording on a landing page. But that misjudgment of clarity can make the difference between capturing a lead and losing it to a competitor.
Marketers need to find the perfect balance between a catchy, unique line and one that doesn’t explain the purpose of the page.
An example of this would be in a recent post of mine, Landing Page Design 101: What the Helvetica? Originally I planned for that title to only include the latter of those two statements, but in editing I realized that without a more detailed description it could be easily come across as a variety of different topics. It only took a few extra words to bring clarity to that title.
Perhaps the best example of this would be when incorporating a CTA, or call to action, into a blog post as a way to turn a visitor to your site into a lead, which is a must in any successful blog.
Including a CTA that simply says “Click Here to Download” or “Get a Free Article” won’t persuade readers into clicking the same way that “Download Our Free Tip Guide to Generating Leads” or “Register Here for Our Webinar on Social Media Marketing Techniques” will.
Tell your audience exactly what you are offering them and exactly what subject it will cover, so they see the value right away.
Additionally, if something is free, don’t be afraid to say so. Everyone loves getting something they want for no cost and as such are much more likely to click and download or sign up for whatever you are offering.
Author Marty Rubin once said, “If meaning is unclear, there is not meaning.”
Those are words to live by when trying to gain, nurture, and covert leads. Consider that motto as you compose blogs, email campaigns, social media posts, press releases, and any other piece of content your company puts out. It is better to be cleary understood than poorly misleading.
Clarity trumps all!